Did you know that you are an apostle? We are an “apostolic faith.” That means that each person who has had the opportunity to know Jesus has the job of sharing Jesus with others. Today’s readings show how God works through our example to help others see the light of God’s presence in the world.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
Isaiah 49:3, 5-6
I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.
1 Corinthians 1:1-3
You who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy…
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
Our first reading from the Prophet Isaiah expresses the purpose of the people of God: to show God’s glory. Our one job is to live in a way that makes it clear to others that God is real, that God is good, and that God loves everybody. When we love God by loving others (which is living the Law of God), it can actually make it difficult for others to say that God is not real. God tells us that we will be “a light to the nations”, to “restore” those who have fallen away, and to make it so that God’s “salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” We can do this–God’s not just saying it for his health. Our actions can change other people’s lives.
The second reading is a greeting from Paul to the people of a Church in Corinth. That greeting tells them who they are; people “sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy.” Paul prays that they will experience God’s grace, which is free help that God offers us. We have been made holy by Jesus, we are called to live that way. We are called to make choices that give life to other people, that bring comfort and healing, and to help them know God better. When we try, God always does help us to make our efforts effective.
When John the Baptist saw Jesus, he called out to the people around, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” Have you heard that phrase before? Of course you have! We hear it every Sunday at Mass. The priest holds up the Eucharist and says it, and we respond, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” We know that Jesus came to take away our sins and we know that we don’t necessarily deserve to have our sins removed. But, that doesn’t stop God. God loves us so much that he came right to where we are and gave us his whole self–that’s what we celebrate at Christmas. Because God offered us this free gift, and continues to offer it to us even when we fail to be good, it’s only right that we extend the joy of knowing that we are unconditionally loved with anyone who could use that information. And there isn’t a person on this earth who doesn’t need to hear that. When we acknowledge that we aren’t perfect and that we need God’s help, it makes us more able to give God’s love freely to others and to be that holy light that God means us to be.
What do you think of when you hear Jesus being called the “Lamb of God”? Why do you think he has that title?
What does it mean to you to be an apostle? Do you know what the Twelve Apostles were like? If you don’t, look up their stories–you will be very surprised at how imperfect they were. Why do you think God chooses imperfect people to be his messengers?
What does it mean to you that you are supposed to live a holy life? How do you experience grace in your daily life?
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”